To My Mother, If You Ever Read My Poems


By Celia Gibbs

The only thing left in our wax paper wrappings
is the unwanted crust I’d decided not to cut.
The flies crawl in and out of your soda can,
but we can’t blame them.
Fifteen or thirty days compared to cents and a lifetime.
I look at you and think that some women
aren’t meant to be mothers,
some aren’t meant to be daughters.
We are both.
I look for you in everything:
a story told through ancient footprints
of a mother carrying her child to safety,
the tie-dye of colors in a winter sunset,
the curves and dips of my own face
that everyone says twins your own.
I’m still trying and I hope that’s okay.
I can see you in the marigolds beside the library,
but I don’t know your favorite color
or why you don’t call your mom
except on Christmas and Easter.
Did you also doubt her love?
I don’t know what else to do.
Will you always be a stranger to me?
We’re not flies, we have a lifetime.

Celia Gibbs is a third-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is pursuing a degree in English, studying the creative writing combination of genres focus.